Saturday, 27 March 2010

PRO LIBERATE DIMICANDUM EST



Band: HROSSHARSGRANI
Title: Pro Liberate Dimicandum Est
Format: CD in DVD size case released in 2009 by Steinklang Industries (Austria), cat ref SKD25. Re-issued later in 2009 on cassette format by Wulfrune Worxx (France), cat ref WW83, with alternate inlay artwork as part of the 'Remember CC' series. This is the 'standard' issue - a limited edition 'Part II' also exists, covered separately in the Blog
Edition: Standard CD in unnumbered edition of 1,000. Cassette version limited to 44 numbered copies

Track Listing:

01. Free (Intro) 0.58
02. Pro Liberate Dimicandum Est 4.47
03. None Of You 5.42
04. All Systems Go 3.02
05. The Glory Of All Dead 5.30
06. Never Surrender 5.43
07. Terminate 5.50
08. The Victory 5.55
09. Architect Of Fear 5.36
10. Mercyful 10.01

As the limited edition version of this release has been re-issued on cassette format in two parts (the first with the standard tracks, the second with the bonus tracks) it seemed to Nazgul a sensible idea to split this post into two and treat each item on its own merit.

This, then, is the standard Steinklang CD release along with the same tracks on tape courtesy of Wulfrune Worxx. And it has to be said it is a release very different from the majority of Hrossharsgrani albums and demos that precede it, save for the internet-download of "S.P.Q.R", as the very barbaric viking metal has given way to a more polished, film-score type of recording. There are more samples of film on this one release than on all previous Hross' releases Nazgul would wager, all threaded together with panache and skill with some quality ambient music. Gone are the pounding war-drums and fuzzy black metal guitar of yore, and those (in)famous Hrossharsgrani guttural vocals are nowhere to be found.

Such a change in approach has met with mixed reviews online, it must be said. On the negative side, this is what http://www.filthforge.org/ had to say about it:

"This project with a rather difficult name was born from Alex Wieser, mastermind of the appreciated Austrian entity Uruk-Hai, which moves between dark ambient and pagan folk rides. Hrossharsgrani is, on the contrary, more akin to his other side-projects B-Machina and Bonemachine, all devoted to a martial industrial rich of epic and gloomy tones. "Pro Libertate Dimicandum Est" feeds on film samples, noise broadsides, mechanical and monotonous rhythms, ghostly guitar chords here and here, and, actually, not much else.

Indeed, there's a terrible repetitiveness haunting the ten tracks of this CD, loosing a little bit only in the slow battle gait with imperious vocals of "None Of You", and in the grey industrial scenery of "The Glory Of All Dead". As for the rest, unfortunately, boredom ends up with overcoming, especially in the long and horrendous jumble of "The Victory", where, after the sixth time that a sampled voice repeats "for the victory!", you feel seriously like interrupting the listening. Martial industrial can turn into a pitiless double-edged weapon, especially if relying upon machines only. Just press the skip button without too many regrets."

whereas other sites, the Cold Spring distro included, are more receptive to the change:

"Pro Liberate Dimicandum Est" was released specially for the 2000 years anniversary of the 'Varusschlacht' (also known as the Battle Of Teutoburg Forest and immortalised by Ridley Scott in the film "Gladiator"). Classical melodies combined with the iron rough edges of Martial Industrial on a crusade through the ages. A musical journey far off the trampled paths of industrial art was the basis for each single Hrossharsgrani track"

Nazgul admits it took a little getting used to, as it is markedly different from the traditional music by this project. Therein lies the rub, as old Shakespeare once said, in as far as it's difficult to see what wider audience might go for this, as it could be argued to be too soft for the long-term followers of the band, and perhaps too avant-garde for newer listeners to risk investing their money in?

It's a 'grower' this one - well worth the time to explore and enjoy (and yes, to echo the earlier comment of FilthForge, some of the samples can get a little repetitive over time in fairness) and as an evolution of an existing project progress is to be applauded: it would be all too easy for Alex to rest on his metaphorical laurels...

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